Climate change and oceans

Oceans occupy more than 70% of the Earth’s surfaceThey are a crucial component of global material cycles and provide habitat for a large variety of plants and animalsThe oceans are therefore essential for human life on our planetThe coasts are an elementary habitat and economic area for almost half of the world’s population – and their importance is increasingHumans use the oceans in a variety of waysFor example, they provide food, serve as transport routes, for waste disposal and energy generation, and also for recreationThis means that the oceans’ ecosystems provide numerous services, the so-calledEcosystem services on which we humans are essentially dependent.

Global climate change is already making itself felt in the oceansGlobal changes in the driving forces affect regional and local scales, for example, through changes in water pH, storms, and sea-level riseThis stresses ecosystems, and people living on the coasts are increasingly exposed to risks.

Global changes and drivers

The oceans play a crucial role in global climate regulation on EarthThey store and transport energy and exchange it with the atmosphereIn addition to heat, they also absorb large amounts of the carbon dioxide humans produceDue to their large mass, they buffer the manufactured atmospheric changes for a whileThe large currents in the ocean influence these interactions and are therefore a key factor for climate eventsIn the polar regions, a massive sheet of ice covers the oceans and affects the exchange between ocean and atmosphere and thus the global climate systemOceanographic climate research constantly develops new measuring procedures and (modeling) methods to understand the connections betterGlobal changes and drivers

Regional and local phenomena

Various factors and forces interact and control the energy balance, and material flows in the ocean systemTheir interactions determine changes in the energy and material flow dynamicsThe vast water bodies of the oceans can buffer many influences, but the effects of climate change are already clearly visibleThe oceans are getting warmer, and sea levels are risingChanges in large-scale currents affect the occurrence of storms, storm surges, and heavy rainAltered processes and balances in the material balance lead, among other things, to acidification of the oceansRegional and local phenomena

habitat ocean

Global climate change is changing the living conditions in the oceansThere are already shifts in marine ecosystemsFor many marine organisms, global warming has serious consequences for the survival of their speciesWhile some species can use the changes to their advantage, others have toThe adaptability of every organism has its limitsManufactured climate change is changing the physical and chemical environment so rapidly that marine life cannot adapt fast enoughhabitat ocean

Use and economic area ocean

People’s lives and economies depend largely on the seas: every third person on Earth uses the seas as a source of foodMore than half of the world’s population lives in coastal regionsSixty-two percent of cities with more than eight million inhabitants are on the coastAlmost all intercontinental and more than 60 percent of European trade occurs via the seasUse and economic area ocean

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